BALTIMORE David Ortiz didn't pause when asked whether what happened to the Red Sox this season was worse than the 2003 ALCS.
"Oh, this was worse," he said. "Nothing is as bad as this. ... What we did this month was horrible.
The Sox, he said, did not deserve to advance.
"Not how we play. Not how we play. The way we were playing this month, thats not a playoff team," he said.
Now comes the aftermath.
"I guarantee that everybody in this room is going to learn from this. It's going to be a long winter, no doubt," Ortiz said. "You learn from your mistakes. I've had a lot of mistakes in my life and I learned from them. This is baseball. Trust me, a lot of guys over the winter will think about what happened this month."
Ortiz also was gracious.
"I have to give credit to those guys in Tampa, man. We were watching that game during the rain delay. What they did, they deserve to be in the playoffs to be honest with you.
"The one thing that is going to stay in my head for a while is how disappointed we all are about the end of the season and how supportive our fans are and how we let them down."
In terms of other impressions from the game:
Alfredo Aceves threw 7.1 innings the last four days, allowing one run. He threw 86 pitches. He threw 16 innings in his last nine games (over 14 days) and allowed one run. That's old-school, Mike Marshall stuff.
Soon-to-be free agent Jonathan Papelbon was given several chances to indicate a willingness to remain with the Red Sox and passed. "I'll let the process play itself out," he said. "We'll see what happens."
It's dangerous to read too much into the raw emotions of a season-ending post-game scene. But Terry Francona looked like a manager who knew his time may have come.
The Sox had an unfathomable 5.69 ERA this month. Pitching coach Curt Young did not have a good first season. He has a multi-year contract, but you have to wonder if he returns.
Plenty to come tomorrow once we get back to Boston. Word is Theo Epstein will hold his usual end of the season press conference. Again, much earlier than usual.